Babylon Couture

Where was latex couture in 1920s Hollywood? Indeed, there were some spectacular fashions, what we would consider quite complicated undergarments for women, and what many folks considered some rather risqué dressing possibilities. After all, this was the age of the flapper, and in the burgeoning movie scene, decadence reigned. But latex? Probably nowhere to be found in any wardrobe pieces of the time.

It’s nowhere to be found in the new Babylon movie, starring Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt. But this is not to say the film’s wardrobe is not spectacular.

Costume designer and triple Oscar nominee Mary Zophres noted that for this movie, she dressed more actors than she ever has on any film she’s work on. With a whopping seven thousand costumes, between background players and those with speaking parts, getting the wardrobe together for this film took a Herculean effort; the principal players here had nearly fifteen changes each just themselves.

There are Brad Pitt’s bespoke sweaters and cardigans. And Margo Robbie’s stunning entrance in the film wearing what looks like a barely held-together red scarf wrapped around her waist and a plunging neckline red ribbon top (which took six prototypes to get to). These and many more suits, dresses, and various accessories are noted in this Vanity Fair piececalling for another Oscar nom for Zophres.

Babylon takes place in what is often referred to as the “Jazz Age” of the 1920s. In the movie, Hollywood is undergoing the seed change that came from silent films switching to “talkies.” We think that what’s happening around us now with the blistering fast changes of the digital age are startling; imagine how the world was shaken (especially in America, the home of Hollywood) when audiences could suddenly enter a movie theatre and hear as well as see the actors and actresses populating their movies! 

The opulence of the quickly morphing culture of moviedom reflected in the actions, sound, lights, and, yes, the dress of the times, is surely clearly defined in Babylon.  

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